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Project update February 2022
We are fully committed to regenerating Morden into a thriving town centre with new homes, improved transport and public realm, revitalised retail and modern business space. Our Strategic Development Framework document illustrates how our vision for the town centre could be delivered.
Morden has been identified as one of the major growth and housing opportunity areas in south-west London, by the council, Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London. The town centre represents a unique development opportunity because it is a suburban town centre at the beginning of one of the busiest tube lines in London, surrounded by excellent green and open spaces.
Morden currently functions as a successful town centre, with excellent public transport accessibility and a strong daytime trade. However, consultation feedback over the past few years has highlighted that residents and other town centre users would like to see changes made to the public realm, a greater variety of cafes and shops and a night-time economy. The recent Your Merton 2021 engagement also highlighted that one of the primary ambitions for residents is the regeneration of Merton’s high streets. Respondents wanted to see more attractive and revitalised high streets that encourage residents to spend more time shopping and provide opportunities to socialise. We also want to take into consideration the impact that the recent pandemic has had on our town centres. The council’s Covid 19 recovery plan, along with the Your Merton Action Plan will help to shape the future of Morden town centre.
The council continues to work with Transport for London, the Mayor of London and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) sponsored agency, Homes England to prepare for funding opportunities to bring forward the regeneration plans. A review is currently being undertaken of alternative delivery methods and funding options for the town centre, to explore ways to deliver the regeneration more swiftly.
The next milestone is to ensure that appropriate Local Plan policies are put into place to enable the regeneration to come forward. Further information is available on our new Local Plan website.
Neighbourhood CIL investment
The council will be investing £300,000 of Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) across 2021-2025 to improve the look and feel of the town centre. This investment will help to support business recovery from the pandemic and will include a range of small-scale projects such as new and exciting public spaces, art installations and urban greening. These projects are managed by the Future Merton team, with advisory input from the Morden Regeneration Cross Party Steering Group.
The first project that the NCIL contributed to was the Community Garden at Morden Baptist Church, which opened in 2021. The garden is available for all to access and use as a local daytime green space.
Images above: Parklet in Abbotsbury Road, Morden
Images above: Morden Baptist Church Community Garden
Merton in Bloom launch with Cllr Natasha Irons
Hello, I’m Cllr Natasha Irons, Cabinet member for Local Environment, Green Space and Climate
And I’m here in Merton's brand new community garden to launch our 2022 Merton in Bloom competition.
Merton in Bloom is part of the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom gardening competition.
These awards are a great way to acknowledge the efforts of local people who look after their gardens and green spaces,
and make the borough a more green and beautiful place.
There are six categories to choose from, and you can even nominate a local garden or floral feature in the borough that has impressed you!
You could even nominate a Community Garden, just like this one outside Merton Baptist Church
a project which was part-funded by the councils Morden Town Centre Neighbourhood Fund.
And This year, to put Merton back on the London Bloom map,
the Council will also be re-entering the London in Bloom competition
For a full list of categories, and to enter visit:
The closing date for entries is 29th July and the winners will be announced in October.
Good luck to everyone taking part and
I can’t wait to see Merton in bloom this summer.
Councillor Natasha Irons launches Merton in Bloom gardening competition in the Community Garden at Morden Baptist Church. Find out more about Merton in Bloom.
Statement from the Morden Regeneration Cross Party Steering Group July 2021
The Morden Regeneration Steering Group is a cross party advisory group which includes Councillors from the 4 wards that intersect with Morden Town Centre: Cannon Hill, Merton Park, Ravensbury and St Helier. Members agreed the following cross party communications statement at the Morden Regeneration Steering Group meeting held 27 July 2021:
The council remains fully committed to regenerating Morden into a thriving town centre which includes new homes, improved transport interchange, revitalising retail, and modern business space.
Over the next two years, Merton council will be investing £300,000 to improve the look and feel of the town centre, supporting business recovery from the pandemic, providing new public spaces, and art installations. We will also be building on and creating increased co-operation between community groups and business as we move forward on the project.
Merton is working in partnership with Transport for London to actively pursue funding opportunities to develop, fund and deliver on this project despite the many challenges from the pandemic, and people’s evolving preferences in the way they work.
Our vision is to revitalise the town centre and build on all the great things Morden has to offer, including great transport connectivity, a National Trust Park, independent businesses, and community facilities, including the new state of the art leisure centre.
This is a long-term project which will require collaboration with partners and cross-party working as collectively we all want to see a thriving and regenerated Morden which brings new homes, jobs, and investment in the local infrastructure.
Image above: Artist impression of Morden town centre
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is the current status (February 2022) of the project?
Merton Council is working collaboratively with Transport for London (TfL) to bring forward the regeneration of the town centre. Our vision is to transform Morden into a vibrant and sustainable destination, which will enable businesses and the local economy to thrive, provide a significant number of new homes and a range of facilities and services for the local community. The regeneration has long been an ambition and priority of the council, with strong support from local residents and businesses, to make Morden a town centre of the future.
The council continues to work with TfL, the Mayor of London and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) sponsored agency, Homes England to explore and bid for a number of funding opportunities to bring forward the regeneration plans. A review is currently being undertaken of alternative delivery methods and funding options for the town centre, to bring forward the start of the regeneration works.
In December 2021, the council submitted its new Local Plan to the Secretary of State for examination, and officers are exploring the development of a Supplementary Planning Document for the town centre.
When will the regeneration start and how long will it take to deliver?
A major regeneration of this scale will take some time to develop and deliver. The process has already started with the development of a vision, a set of objectives and key priorities that have been developed through multiple rounds of engagement with the local community.
It is difficult to determine exact timescales at this stage due to a number of factors such as external funding, market conditions, the implications of the Covid 19 pandemic and availability of land. The regeneration is expected to take place in a number of phases over an 8-10 year period. Further details will be shared as they become available.
What funding has the council bid for previously?
In 2015, Morden Town Centre was announced as one of the Mayor of London’s Housing Zones, identifying it as one of 30 sites to be brought forward for accelerated housing development and growth. As part of the Housing Zone status, Morden was allocated £42m; however this was not grant funding to the Council, it was a loan facility available only to developers. At the time, the project was in the early stages and did not have a development partner signed up and therefore the funding was not available.
In 2017, the council and TfL supported the GLA in submitting a bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to unlock housing through the delivery of the Morden Housing Zone. While the bid was well received, it was unsuccessful as the assessment criteria meant that other major national schemes that did not need to assemble land were seen as more favourable for the fund.
In 2018, the council and TfL jointly submitted a bid to the GLA Land Fund. In 2019, it was reported to Merton’s Cabinet that the project had been awarded an in-principle allocation of grant funding from the Mayor’s Land Assembly Fund within the Homes for Londoner’s Land Fund, subject to due diligence and agreed of funding terms and conditions. In March 2020, the council and TfL were advised that although the Mayor is supportive of the plans to regenerate Morden town centre, at the time the GLA was not in a position to support the project financially, following the completion of due diligence. The Mayor’s Land Fund is aimed at bringing land forward for housing quickly across London and funding was allocated to other projects that would deliver much needed housing quicker than the Morden project would be able to, including those that already had planning permission, or where sites had already been cleared.
Is the council seeking external funding to help deliver Morden regeneration?
This is a substantial regeneration project and will take some time to develop and deliver. Securing funding for the scheme is one of the key elements in enabling the council to bring this opportunity to the market and deliver our vision, and we continue to seek the opportunities that are available. We are currently liaising and working with Homes England to explore future funding opportunities for the scheme and these discussions are ongoing.
How many new homes will be built?
The proposal for Morden town centre is to deliver circa 2,000 new homes within the regeneration boundary, including 40 per cent affordable housing. The delivery of these homes will go towards the much needed housing that is required in Merton, also helping to address London’s housing crisis.
What will happen to the shops and businesses in Morden?
As of January 2022 Morden functions as a successful town centre, which is well located and has a strong daytime trade. Consultation feedback has constantly highlighted that residents and other town centre users would like to see a greater variety of shops and a night-time economy in Morden. Our vision is to make Morden a destination; we want to support local businesses in providing a varied retail offer to help Morden realise its potential as a great place to live, work and socialise. By enabling the local economy to thrive and provide a range of facilities and services for the community, the regeneration will deliver improved retail, commercial and leisure opportunities.
Any affected landowners and tenants within the town centre will be continually engaged throughout the design and development process, and officers will be available to discuss the options available to each person. Some preliminary engagement has already taken place as part of the new Local Plan process.
Will local people have a chance to be heard?
We understand how important it is to listen to the views of local residents, businesses and other users of the town centre, particularly what they would like to see in the future Morden town centre. The regeneration has been an ambition of the council since 2008 and remains a priority. Since that time, there have been a number of public consultations to understand the views and priorities of the local community and these have fed into the development of the vision and objectives of the regeneration.
As detailed designs for the development have not yet been developed, we will continue to engage with the community to ensure that local concerns can be addressed and benefits maximised, where possible. Previous consultation feedback has shown significant local support for improvements to the town centre. Specifically, improvements to the visual amenity of the high street, a better variety of shops, an improved public realm, changes to the bus standing area and the creation of a night-time economy. Public feedback will continue to be part of the regeneration process to help shape the development proposals.
How can I find out more about the plans?
This website provides the most up to date information about the regeneration plans and will continue to be updated as the development progresses to the next stages. You can sign up for our email newsletter updates via the link at this end of this webpage. We will also provide information through the My Merton magazine, local press and leaflets.
If you have any further questions, you can contact our Future Merton regeneration officers via email at email@example.com or phone on 020 8545 3837.
The previous newsletters can be viewed below.
Merton Civic Centre
Telephone: 020 8545 3837
Fax: 020 8545 3326